Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Changing Careers? You might want to think about it first!

A mid-career job change might be stressful, but what about a mid-career career change? While it isn’t impossible, you’ll want to carefully consider the decision, because starting over again, even if it’s in a job you’re certain to love, could well be the most stressful thing you’ll ever undertake. Of course, happiness does play a part in the decision, but it certainly isn’t the only consideration. Will you have to deal with a pay cut? Go back to school? You may have to rethink your living arrangements if your home is far from the industry you’ve chosen. What about your family? Can you really afford to make the change? Can you afford not to?

If you’ve got your heart set on changing careers mid-stream, there are a few things you should keep in mind so that you’ll have the best chance for success. Simply jumping into the pool and shouting “here I am” isn’t likely to score you much more than a few chuckles, so keep in mind that it pays to have a plan in place well before you even leave your current job. Already told your boss to “stuff it” though? That’ll make things a bit tougher, but it’s still manageable - just not very smart. 

Plan ahead: Before you take the plunge and change your career, it’s a good idea to have the ins and outs already planned for. You wouldn’t want to make a mistake, after all. For example, ask yourself whether your new career will replace your existing income, or if you’ll need to think about taking a second job to make ends meet. Also, whether you can do without health insurance for a few months and whether you’ll need to go back to school in order to qualify for a position in your newly chosen field.

Schooling: Researching the new profession you are considering may lead you to some insights you hadn’t yet considered. Namely, you might find that that dream job you’ve been thinking about requires an advanced degree or even a hefty level of experience. Do you have time for that? Or, more importantly, can you afford that? The cost of college tuition and other forms of advanced education have increased at a phenomenal pace in just the last ten years, so for many who may be returning to school later in life, such a change may not be particularly feasible.

Of course, there is something to be said for following your passion. You may find a level of success in your true passion that you simply won’t be able to find in a job that doesn’t give you much satisfaction. There are even some health benefits to be found in switching careers, too. For one, if you’re following your passion, chances are you’re going to work hard on it without actually thinking about how hard you’re working. This is bound to ease up on your stress level, and by extension, should ultimately help lower your blood pressure. Additionally, if you aren’t thinking about the work you’re doing all day, do you think you’ll actually stop to take the time to junk out on snack food? Chances are the answer is no. Less snacking equals less calories, which might just lead to a little good, healthy weight loss and getting a little more exercise. Of course, if your dream job happens to be running your own business, you’re going to run into some more stress in your life, but if it’s meant to be, and it’s your joy, then you might just find that sort of stress to be the kind that is far, far easier to live with than the kind of stress you had to deal with before you changed careers.

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